“ Genre: Crime & Thriller / Theatrical Release: 2009 / Director: Chris Shadley / Actors: Melissa Joan Hart, John Terry, Chip Bent, Lawrence Turner, Edrick Browne ... / DVD released 2010-03-09 at Image / Features of the DVD: AC-3, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC „
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This movie is a novel idea and a generally good film. The story doesn't require you to think too much, but it does allow you to start making predictions as it goes on. When I watched the movie, I was not bored, I actually quite enjoyed it, however it is not one I would go out and buy, but it is well worth watching.
The movie focuses on the premise of 9 individuals having to discover why they are there, and 1 being killed every 10 minutes until they work it out. The movie in total lasts 98 minutes, which when you take the introductory scene of catching the 9 individuals, and the instructions being given, plus a pause between each death and of cause the credits, means this movie works at a very quick pace. Although you are wrapped in the suspense that the 10 minutes of discussion does seem longer as they try and work out why they are all here. This I found kept me entertained for the whole movie.
Story (May contain spoilers)
9 people wake up in a room, all tied up and all wondering who each other are. A masked man enters and tells them that they are all connected, and not only that they need to work out why they are here and how they are connected. He then informs them that they have 10 minutes and every 10 minutes he will come back and kill 1 of them at random until they can tell him the answer.
This is where the problem comes, some of them know a couple of the people in the room, but don't want to say. Some of them have done things they are ashamed of and don't want to admit it to the others, some of them can't speak English. This causes a lot of wasted time and accusations while all 9 try to discover what it is they are all connected by, to hopefully not be one of the random deaths.
The acting is pretty good, it is quite believable that these are 9 random people all whom have woken up in a room with 8 others without knowing why they are there. The movie really only focuses on 10 characters that the actors portray very well, and to be fair this movie requires acting to carry it, as it is all generally set in 1 room and they are pretty well restrained during this entire movie.
The only real special effects are the death scenes where people are shot, otherwise none are really needed to carry this movie off, as it is set generally in 1 room with these 10 people talking (which of cause the number of people decreases every 10 minutes)
Overall I thought this was a good movie, that kept me fully entertained for the full 98 minutes. This is quite impressive considering the whole movie was practically set in 1 room with only 10 characters. While this is not a movie I would go out and buy for my permanent movie collection, it is certainly worth watching if it is on Sky or you're looking for a movie to rent. If I was after a movie to watch one night I would quite happily pick this again if it was available.
This movie is definately for those that like movies that focus on individuals, and human nature, rather than special effects explosion and action.
Nine people are abducted and restrained in a sealed windowless room by a masked gunman. They are told that their only hope of escape is to figure out what connects them to their unknown kidnapper and each other. Every ten minutes one of them will die unless they figure out why they are there and what they could possibly have in common, a Policeman, Priest and Assistant District Attorney stand alongside an elderly store-owner, an insurance sales man and other more questionable characters. They all contributed in some way that affects their captor but what? The clock is ticking, time is running out and not everyone will survive...
===Oops I did it again...===
I can't resist 'single room' horror films and thought I'd seen them all over the years however it was whilst looking at the films that Lovefilm recommended to me that I spotted this. The premise of Nine Dead is nothing new and follows a tried and tested formula that has been used in plenty of other films but I do like the concept so decided to take a chance and add it to my rental list. I really should have known better though, the cast list didn't inspire me when I saw the names although I was interested to see Melissa Joan Hart in a role other than 'Sabrina the teenage witch' however Nine Dead would soon prove itself to be a bit of a disaster and not a great example of this type of horror film.
Along with Melissa Joan Hart, hereby known as MJH for the rest of this review, the only other face I recognised in the small cast was that of John Terry (no, not the football player but that bloke from "Lost"), the remaining 8 seemed to consist of an amateur bunch of nobodies and given the fact that they had very little to actually do in the film apart from appear handcuffed to what looked like Stripper poles generally the whole cast failed to maximise the tension or suspense of the situation they found themselves in. To say the characters were one-dimensional would be an understatement none of them brought any depth to their roles and each of them were clichéd caricatures of what you would expect from a "priest", "cop" "gangland member" etc. As the film progresses it becomes obvious that the whole exercise is a vehicle for MJH to shake off the 'Sabrina' image whilst trying to convince us that she is a rough-and-tough 'assistant D.A' who likes to say "shit" and "f*ck" in each sentence whilst adopting a no-nonsense hard exterior. Sadly MJH fails to convince that she is anything other than a fluffy television actress and even having obviously dyed dark brown hair can't help her in her portrayal. It must be hard for some actors who become so established as an iconic and recognisable character particularly childhood ones to be able to shake off the past and I really wanted to like MJH in this but she is just not convincing whatsoever and sadly to say that for me she was just an older, swearier Sabrina but with different coloured hair.
Perhaps the most offensive of all of the supporting cast was the _very_ odd choice to have an overly camp gay character who admits to being a child molester for no reason whatsoever, the actor portraying him hams it up with bizarre posturing and clichéd dialogue and is probably the most unlikeable out of the lot of them. In films of this nature you need to have some sympathy for at least one of the characters and have someone to root for, here all 9 of the captives have no redeeming qualities whatsoever to them and even though you know who is going to survive right from the start you really don't care about them or any of the other 8, even an attempt to throw a twist in at the end misfires incredibly badly.
===Secrets and Lies===
The main problem with Nine Dead is the lack of tension throughout, for what could have been an exciting premise; someone dies every 10 minutes until they either work out why they are where they are or they are all dead is pitched completely wrong. Instead of focusing on the job in hand the useless 9 captives stand around moaning and bitching at one another and when indeed the masked man comes in and shoots one of them they decide to bitch some more. There is no sense of panic, no suspense and no apparent urge to get to the bottom of why they are there instead mini revelations are spat out which I presume were included to 'flesh' out the characters and give them some depth but in doing so it takes the focus away from what the film should have been about. Getting the 9 together was rushed and defied belief anyway and there were huge plot-holes throughout the film which became _very_ annoying. The ending is one of the very worst I have ever seen in any film and is a ridiculous anti-climax from the events which preceded it, the film could never have been played to test audiences to get their reactions as why it ends the way it does truly is inexplicable and not worth the 80-odd minutes you have to sit through to get there.
The only positive thing I can find to say about the film is the reason behind how the 9 chosen are linked and who they actually are, this is quite clever I must admit and once they get round to trying to figure out what they have in common and put the pieces of the puzzle together then the reason is quite inventive. However it takes so long to actually get to the point that over half of them have been shot and by then I had lost the will to live anyway so didn't particularly care anymore. Being a 15 certificate there could never be much in the way of blood or gore and other than a few gunshots and some blood splatter overall the film is very tame in comparison to others which tackle a similar theme. It's very lazy film-making in my opinion to take a well used premise and do absolutely nothing new with it, everything about 9 Dead has been done before but better and with more elaborate sets, bigger effects, stronger characters and compelling storylines and given the option I would choose "Saw", "Exam", "The Killing Room" or countless other examples over this film although I could see why it would appeal to other people.
Being a new release and a 15 certificate probably makes this film more accessible to a wider audience and if you haven't seen other examples of the 'single room' group of captive strangers premise then you would have nothing to compare this to. It certainly isn't as gory as Saw although one scene does rip-off a very infamous moment from that film so those with an aversion to too much violence will have little to fear here. Anyone interested to see what became of MJH won't be overly impressed with her inclusion in this film and in all honesty I can't see this film appealing to many dedicated or ardent horror fans. Laughably Dan Baldwin (one of the lesser known 'Baldwin brothers' - part of the big Hollywood acting family) is credited with making a cameo appearance in the film. He shakes someone's hand right at the beginning in a 'blink and you miss it' moment yet his name is included in the credits, similarly the sleeve of the film would have you believe that this is going to be a gorefest with its depiction of a blood splattered wall and macabre looking hangman's noose. The noose never features in the film, no one gets hanged and it is never mentioned so why include a picture of one on the sleeve? Misrepresentation always bugs me when it comes to films, especially horror ones, it's almost as if the producers or publicists know they have a dud on their hands so have to overplay what they do have with an aim to recoup their losses. 9 Dead is a classic example of a poor film wrapped up in salacious packaging and I really should have trusted my first instinct which was to leave this alone.
If, after reading this you would have the compulsion to buy the film please be aware that for some reason amazon.co.uk have this film scheduled for retail release at the end of March, my copy came from Lovefilm as a rental disc. Why there is a delay in the film hitting the shops I don't know but I certainly wouldn't recommend camping outside HMV's doors on the night before it is due to go on sale anyway and as my copy of the film contained no extras on it whatsoever (not even subtitles for the hard of hearing) this has been a film only review.
Even though this is listed as a new release on amazons' website it has a pre-order price of just £5.99 which is unusually cheap but I can't say that I'm that surprised given how poor it actually was. It should be obvious by now that I wouldn't recommend it's purchase so even if it had been £1.99 I still wouldn't have bought it anyway. Finally, as far as my rating goes I'm going to award 2 stars, one for MJH herself as he is at least trying to shake off the 'Sabrina' image and the other for a quite clever back-story, however this is being very generous. Films in this genre are by their very nature either hit or miss and 9 Dead is, I'm afraid, a resounding miss.
Overall: Not recommended, Avoid unless it's on the television late one night and there's nothing else on.
Thanks for reading my review, please note that this also appears on ciao under my username.
I stumbled across Nine Dead whilst looking for horror movies to watch. I read that Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) was in it, and her mother is the producer, so I decided to give it a chance. Let me just say that this is NOT like the Saw movies. People have assumed it is, but I promise that it's not. There's no torture, but there is blood when people get shot. That all is.
Nine complete strangers are kidnapped and brought to a secluded warehouse. A masked man tells them that they have ten minutes to tell him why they were all brought there. If they do not tell him why each of them was brought there, he will shoot someone. As time ticks on and the pressure mounts, more and more secrets begin to unfold as viewers discover how brutal these seemingly normal people have been.
-Variety of characters
To make the film that much more interesting, all of the characters are different. There's the priest, shop owner, police officer, lawyer, gang member, night club owner, seemingly innocent young guy, camp ex-felon, and an insurance provider. Even better (worse for the characters) is that you can link one or two but struggle to link the others. For example, a lawyer and officer go together but where would a shop owner fit in?
Your attitude towards the different people will change as the film progresses. The people I hated at the start I ended up liking and vice versa. This was great because it showed that things are never as they seem.
I can't stand when films start sloooooowly. Nine Dead begins with the kidnappings and the pace escalates from there on. No unnecessary romance, sex, nudity, flashbacks, chatter, etc. Everything happens to move the story along, even though someone characters do flesh out their backgrounds a bit too much considering that they only have ten minutes.
The killer has a gun and isn't afraid to use it. There is no prolonging the agony. He shoots to kill, not to torture. This fits with the killer's reason for choosing these people, and shows that he is not TOO unreasonable. To show that he is not purely cold-hearted, he offers to turn himself in if they discover the reason for their kidnappings. Then again, he does not provide ANY clues whatsoever.
Nine Dead has cliche after cliche. Of course the 'token black guy' was part of a gang. Of course the camp homosexual was a paedophile. Of course the Asian woman runs a store, even though she can't speak English...How predictable!
-Secrecy? At a time like this?
If someone was going to shoot you, would you hold back on a secret? I would not! At first they are sceptical about whether the killer will actually murder anyone, but soon their worst fears are confirmed. Wouldn't the average person spill the beans by then? Instead the characters need to be shot or physically harmed to provide secret information that only they know. You'd think that dead bodies would've been enough.
It would've been nice if the film involved viewers more. In the Saw films, you can figure out what's happening and/or assess the situation and say what you would do. In Nine Dead, the killer provides no clues whatsoever. They have ten minutes to find out how total strangers are connected and that's it. Naturally someone or some people are going to die.
On the other hand, I like that there were no clues given. It made the task that much harder, which made things more interesting because there were so/too many possibilities for them all being chosen.
-Worst ending ever?
Everyone online agreed that the ending is TERRIBLE. By ending I mean just before the credits roll. It looks as if they ran out of film and left it at that. Obviously I can't ruin things, but I was shocked when the credits rolled. Some has speculated that the end leaves everything open for a sequel, but I doubt it. They could have tied up this final loose end in another minute at least. This is not a high budget movie, but there's no excuse for an ending like this.
I would wait for this film to drop in price and then get it cheap. It was average for me. I would not watch it again because the build up to the secret binding the chosen nine was what kept me watching, plus the characters I liked were great entertainment. The low budget only shows itself at the very end when the screen fades to black and then cuts to the credits. The person who allowed this ending needs to get fired.